Visionary and Dedicated Leaders, Outstanding Physicians, Philanthropists, Successful Entrepreneurs
Their story is a story of love – love for each other, love for family, for their Alma Mater, for their country and most of all, love of God, the Almighty, from whom all blessings emanate. It was in 1968 when their journey began. They married after graduating as members of the Class of 1968 and left for the United States for post-graduate training that same year. Martial law kept them from coming back and so they settled in the United States where Jose became a board certified cardiologist and Stella a board certified pediatrician.
Success has become a trademark of the Evangelistas. Jose had been elected Chief of Staff at St. Mary Hospital in Livonia and was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994-2000 as Board Member of the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education & Accreditation of the US Department of Education. Stella became Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics for several years in the same hospital and was the first Filipino to be appointed member of the Michigan State Board of Medicine by Governor James Blanchard.
Jose and Stella built their fortune on real estate acquisitions, development and construction, later diversifying into health care services and rose to become one of the most prominent and influential couples in their community. Both became presidents of the Association of Philippine Physicians in America and in 1987, founded and led the UST Medical Alumni Association in America, the umbrella organization that unifies all Thomasian physicians into one organization, one convention, one newsletter and one common objective – to support the educational and charitable projects of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and the indigent patients it serves.
The Foundation donated $1.5 million towards the construction of the Thomasian Alumni Center, USTMAAA’s Quadricentennial legacy to UST Drs. Jose and Stella Evangelista have been pillars of both the USTMAAA and the USTMAAAF, sparing no personal expense in nurturing two world class organizations through which Medical Thomasians can give back to their Alma Mater. In recognition of their invaluable contributions, Jose and Stella were conferred the TOTAL award (the Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award for Medicine and Health) and the THOMAS awards in 2011 and 2012, the highest award presented to an alumni by the University. Stella received the Quadricentennial award for Exemplary service to UST and Jose was named one of the 400 Outstanding Thomasians in celebration of its 400th anniversary.
Drs. Jose and Stella Evangelista reaped numerous awards from various sectors as well, to name just a few: The International Heritage Hall of Fame in Metro Detroit, the first Filipino and first couple to be accorded such honor in its 84 year history, the Banaag Presidential Award for Outstanding Filipinos Overseas presented by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos to Jose and the Linkapil Presidential Award presented by Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Stella. Finally, Dr. Jose Evangelista was appointed Honorary Consul General of Michigan from 2008 to 2013.
And just when you thought Michigan’s power couple, Drs. Joe and Stella Evangelista, have achieved everything there is to wish for in their family, career, business, professional and civic communities, along came another feather to add on their caps. The Evangelistas were invited to deliver a keynote speech at Madonna University’s May 2017 Commencement Exercises by its President Michael Grandillo. Drs. Jose and Stella Evangelista were conferred the Doctor of International Relations and Doctor of Humane Letters, respectively.
Stella Salgado Evangelista, M.D., gave the keynote address at the 10:30 a.m. graduation exercise to some 400 doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate nursing and health graduates whereas, Jose Limjoco Evangelista, M.D., spoke at the 2:00 p.m. ceremony to approximately 700 undergraduate students in the school of business, colleges of arts and humanities, education, and natural and social sciences. Both speeches were very warmly received as the graduates gave them a standing ovation.
In a press release by MU, President Grandillo said, “We are honored the Evangelistas will speak to our graduates this year, and we are pleased to bestow on them honorary doctorates.” “Medical trailblazers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, these accomplished doctors have achieved and led in a variety of endeavors, and they are staunch supporters of Catholic higher education,” he continued. “The Madonna community is honored that they agreed to take part in this exciting day of celebrating student success.” President Grandillo praised the Evangelistas for working to improve Filipino-American relations and to create jobs in Livonia and southeast Michigan.